Casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd has reiterated it is still interested in pursuing a casino licence in Japan, despite having no plans to take part in Yokohama’s fresh request-for-proposal (RFP) process that was announced recently.
“Wynn Resorts continues to closely monitor the integrated-resort situation in Japan and views the country as a strong potential market,” the company said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper. The commentary referred to the term “integrated resort” (IR), used in Japan to denote large-scale casino complexes with associated tourism facilities including meeting space, hotels, shopping and entertainment venues.
The Yokohama city authorities announced in late January the timetable for the RFP stage of the metropolis’ tilt at having a casino complex. It will have two phases: the first running from February to May; followed by a second phase between June 1 and June 11.
It was added at the time that the RFP stage was open to all interested parties. Yokohama is expected to choose a private-sector partner during the summer.
United States-based Wynn Resorts controls Macau casino licensee Wynn Macau Ltd, in pre-pandemic times a key provider of group earnings. On November 5, the Macau unit reported a nearly US$280.7-million net loss in the third quarter of 2020, compared to a US$103.7-million profit in the equivalent quarter a year earlier.
On the casino group’s second-quarter earnings call in August, Matt Maddox, the chief executive, had told investment analysts regarding Japan, and referring to the Covid-19 pandemic: “Back in March, we decided that until there’s more clarity on what the business is going to look like, what the world is going to look like, and what the regulations really are over there, we’re pretty much ceasing our efforts.”
Previously, Wynn Resorts had said Yokohama was the focus of its endeavours in Japan.
Mr Maddox had added in the August statement saying it had pulled back regarding Japan: “It doesn’t mean we’re not interested in the market, it just means that right now, it’s not a focus for our company.”
The group’s update on Japan, published in the Review-Journal on Wednesday, said, referring to the next phase of Yokohama’s tilt at having a casino resort: “While Wynn’s positive pursuit of an IR development in the country is undiminished, it will not be participating in the upcoming request-for-proposal [RFP] process by the city of Yokohama, because there is not yet clarity regarding the post-Covid-19 international IR market nor the definitive national basic policy…”
Without more insight regarding those topics, said the firm, it was not possible “meaningfully” to “update our previously-submitted plans and to complete, with the necessary detail, the [application] documents,” published by Yokohama.
The global Covid-19 crisis helped to push back by nine months – to October 2021 – the timetable under which Japan’s national authorities will start accepting bids from local governments interested in hosting a casino resort.
According to the most recent publicly-stated information, the Yokohama authorities plan to present their integrated resort bid to the national authorities in April 2022.
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”They want us to invest as well. The government there wants to see growth in Macau. We are not that concerned about that issue [licence renewal] at all”
Chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands